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Emily Estelle | AEIdeas
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Sunday vowed to step down after one year should he win re-election in April. The promise comes amid mass protests against his bid for a fifth term throughout the country. The ailing 81-year-old president, who last addressed his country more than six years ago, made the announcement via a letter read on state media as he formally submitted his candidacy. At least 183 people were injured during demonstrations on Friday when police tried to stop protesters from advancing toward the presidential palace. Read More
Against a background of growing dissent, Algeria’s ailing president has confirmed his intention to run in April’s elections; however, whether a commitment to reform and a fresh vote within the year, delivered by proxy, will be enough to quell protest remains uncertain.
The popular protests demanding political reforms eight years ago in Morocco have turned into social movements.
The protests started after the president announced he would run for a fifth term in office. In response, he pledged to undertake reforms and step down after the next elections. But it does not appear to have quelled the angry demonstrations, as some protesters have accused him of simply maneuvering to buy time.
The plan “will find my successor in a manner incontrovertibly peaceful, free and transparent,” he said. He also pledged to organize a national referendum for “a new constitution which will mark the birth of a new republic and a new Algerian political system.”
Bouteflika has made very few public appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013, fueling speculation the Algerian government is being run by a cadre of his senior advisors and generals behind the scenes.
A former minister from Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front resigned on Monday from parliament and as member of the NLF amid ongoing demonstrations against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s re-election bid for a fifth term. Sidi Ferroukhi, who previously served as minister of agriculture, said he made his decision in solidarity with the protesters, though he did not single out Bouteflika by name. Nonetheless, he said Algeria is going through exceptional changes that require leaders to listen to people’s demands. The ailing 81-year-old Bouteflika has not addressed the country in six years and has vowed to step down after one year should he win re-election in April. Read More
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria met in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss Libya and the need to hold elections to stabilize the divided country. The ministers also addressed efforts to unify Libya’s state institutions, including the army. The meeting comes after Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli and the rival government close to Khalifa Hifter in the east agreed last week to hold elections. Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the UN-backed government said on Tuesday elections would be held by the end of the year.
Separately, the Egyptian army conducted military exercises near the Libyan border. Libya’s volatile security situation has allowed arms and militants to pour into Egypt. Read More
Tunisia’s electoral commission announced Wednesday that it will hold parliamentary elections in October and the first round of presidential elections in November. The elections will be the country’s third since the 2011 Jasmine revolution. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed broke away from the ruling Nidaa Tounes party in January, forming Tahya Tounes after months of feuding with Nidaa Tunes leader Hafedh Caid Essebsi, who is President Beji Caid Essebsi’s son. Read More
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Tens of thousands of Algerians are demanding political change in a direct challenge to the regime.
Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika warned protesters rallying against his run for a fifth consecutive term of “chaos” as thousands took to the streets today. The ailing 82-year-old president sent the letter, carried by state news agencies, from Switzerland where he has been convalescing since last month. The letter warned of infiltration by any “treacherous internal or foreign group” that “may lead to sedition and chaos and resulting crises and woes.” Algerian lawyers and doctors joined the protests Thursday, demanding to know who signed off on Bouteflika’s medical certificate needed to run again. The president has vowed to step down after a year should he win re-election. Read More